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I like free things, marketing and being helpful, so I decided to combine that list into one blog post. Read on to discover five (free) tools I use as an online marketer.

1. Canva

Canva is an easy-to-use graphic design platform. While it’s no Photoshop, the basic version is actually pretty robust. It offers a large library of customizable templates and layouts in common social media sizes, as well as the option to create a graphic with your own custom dimensions. You can add grids, frames and charts, select from a long list of fonts, upload your own photos and more.

It’s easy to download finished designs and I haven’t run across any limits on downloads per day.

Canva certainly doesn’t replace my creative team, but it’s a great option when I need to create graphics on the fly. (There is an upgraded version available called Canva for Work that has expanded capabilities and allows for more collaboration between users.)

2. TinyPNG

TinyPNG has been a lifesaver for me. It’s a simple drag and drop platform that reduces .png and .jpg file sizes so they’re more reasonable for websites and social posts. With the free version your images already have to be under 5MB and it says you can only reduce up to 20 images per day.

However, I’ve found a simple browser refresh resets the 20 image max. While I obviously enjoy the actual work TinyPNG does for me, I also love that the site’s Panda mascot congratulates me with confetti when my images are ready to download.

3. Unsplash

Unsplash is essentially a more artsy version of iStock or Shutterstock. In general, images on this site don’t scream “stock photo!” All the photos published on the platform can be used for free for both commercial and noncommercial purposes.

I know it sounds too good to be true, but the platform helps photographers get exposure and build a following.

It’s really a win-win for both marketers and photographers. You can use the search bar to find exactly what you want, or you can explore curated collections for inspiration. Simply download images you like right on the spot or save them to your collection (you have to create a free account to save images for later or follow photographers’ work).

4. For Display Purposes Only

I recently learned about this hashtag research tool at a marketing conference and it’s already a go-to. For Display Purposes Only (FDPO) helps you discover new hashtags related to your initial search and provides relevance and popularity scores so you can see how they compare.

For instance, a search for “#homedesign” shows that “#homestyle” is 99% relevant to the original hashtag with a popularity of 67%, while “#homesweethome” is shown to be 38% relevant but has a popularity of 78%. Both suggestions make sense, so you’ll just have to decide which type of score carries more weight depending on what your image depicts. There’s also a cool graph feature that visually shows you how related hashtags are connected.

FDPO is a grain-of-salt tool since you know your brand best, but it’s a quick way to drum up inspiration and get new content ideas for Instagram (and other platforms and channels, too).

5. Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is available within the Google AdWords platform and it’s a great tool for keyword research.

While it was created for paid search, I use it to help with SEO, competitive intelligence, content topics and more. You can find new keywords related to your website, business category or even a phrase, get search volume data and trends, and see how competitive certain keywords are.

You don’t have to be running any AdWords campaigns to use this tool- simply set up a mock campaign with your Gmail account and get to researching.

Melissa Slack

Author Melissa Slack

Melissa is a Digital Content Specialist at InQuest Marketing. She creates and manages social media content for a variety of clients, and she also has experience in SEO, SEM and public relations. Her favorite things about InQuest are the people. Melissa loves her rescue dog and tackling home renovation projects, and she could eat tacos everyday.

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